As I’ve been searching for sources to base my annotated bibliography from, I’ve encountered some harsher truths within the field of academic research. To provide a little bit of context I’ll first paste below my research proposal. Without this, my findings won’t make as much sense.
I’ve always been interested in fashion, both as an art form and as a business. Growing up in NYC it was interwoven into the fabric of my culture. Since coming to Wake I have been less engaged with this passion of mine since there are few resources and opportunities on campus to do so. One way I’ve tried to continue learning about the the ever-evolving industry is through podcasts, since my schedule these days doesn’t offer great amounts of time for leisure. I often listen to a podcast created by designer Recho Omondi, where she sits down with the most influential contributors in this field to discusses varieties of subcultures and topics, draining them of their professional expertise and experiences. Each episode is rich with authenticity and natural dialogue, which amounts to almost an hour of raw experiential knowledge spilling from the brim. It’s helped me to connect with my own ideas and expand my creative lenses, even providing me with direction as I look towards professional opportunities of my own. One of my favorite episodes is a sit down conversation between Recho and Heron Preston. Heron Preston is hugely prominent in the luxury fashion industry, having worked alongside tycoon Virgil Abloh before he’d even gained recognition. This episode spans along tons of topics, which is why my research questions range accordingly. Here are the questions I’ve drafted (with no particular order): 1) To what extent does cancel culture impact business, and how? How do industries shift as a result, and what effect does this have on popular culture as a whole? 2) What encourages artists to retire, and separate from certain industries? 3) How is exclusivity built? 4) How are politics inherently involved in the production of fashion? 5) Copying in art. At what point does “influence” become replica?
I ended up going with my third question, which evolved into, “What does it mean for a fashion brand to be classified as ‘luxury’ and how does this relate to exclusivity? How does luxury and exclusivity impact the business models of luxury fashion brands?” In complete transparency, I also presumed that because of the business oriented nature of my question, I’d find an abundance of resources within academic journals relating to marketing, advertising, and all things corporate that exist in between. To my dismay, I struggled find that encapsulated my topic. I searched throughout Wake Forest’s online libraries, although I was unable to check out the physical copies (I take responsibility for this one), and went through page after page, desperately hoping to find at least two of the of my search terms exist within the same title. What I found was that majority of these articles were intensely specific. This, I entirely welcome. Originally I hoped to find our whether exclusivity was created in top tier luxury fashion brands as a result of marketing strategies, however, my specification on the word “created” (and all minor variations of it) yielded nearly no results. The results I did come across barely resembled what I was looking for, and focused on a particular location and consumer demographic, when what I was interested in was the nature of the luxury fashion industry and the structures that withhold it. Generally, though, I noticed that within platforms like ProQuest and Jstor, fashion as a concept and as a business were surprisingly, poorly studied. Not in regards to depth but instead, in quantity. Among hundreds of thousands of results that sprang from my search, by the 2nd page the results had me wondering whether I’d included a considerably huge typo in my search. But even after checking, once, then twice, then thee times (and there should seriously never be a third time), I realized that I’d discovered educational deficits within the platforms I was relying off of.
I can now confidently declare, I understand entirely why Mr. Denlinger pointed out to me, “Your research questions are a bit broad.” In the future, they definitely won’t be. I’ll say that much.